BATANG MINDANAW: Ave Atque Vale (Hail and Farewell)

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/24 February) — My childhood was nothing but fun and adventures. I lived in an utterly blissful place where anything was possible because I knew my parents were always there for me. My father was one of those people who value discipline and courage like it’s the most important thing in life. My mother, on the other hand, was calm and gentle and did not reinforce ‘discipline’ if we just behaved ourselves.

My childhood years were molded by these two great people on my side and because of them I began to see everything in life hued with sunlight and rainbows. There were occasional rains and storms in our life but they stood firm and cocooned us with the love they selflessly gave and in return, we loved them with all our hearts.

Then one day, everything changed.

I can still remember it clearly like it was yesterday. It was 3:00 PM of June 19, 2006. I rode a tricycle on my way back home and was surprised that no one was still there. A moment later, a friend of my parents came and told me that my mother and father met an accident on their way back home. Many people would be shocked from this kind of news, but for me who had seen my father and mother in the hospital due to motorcycle accidents, this kind of things wasn’t new to me.

After a minute or so while waiting for my elder siblings another friend of my parents stopped by and told me something that sucked out all the colors in the world, and left me deaf and mute for a few seconds. The only thing I could hear was the hard platter of rain on our roof.

My parents are dead and what’s more worse, they were killed by the hands of another human being.

Nothing is forever in this world. I knew this fact a long time ago while watching all my toys get broken but still, the loss of their lives is something unbearable for a child who believed that Santa Claus exists and in every end of the rainbow, lays a pot of gold. The thing about pain, it demands to be felt and that deep piercing pain that’s making its way to my heart. And when I saw the motorcycle, which still had the smear of blood and gunshots all over it, the pain became worse until it’s screaming for vengeance against those people who have done this.

Then the memorial service came and we all took turns to see the face of my most beloved parents resting on their own coffins, and I realized what death really means.

Before, death was just a word. But now, death is a void, snuffing out the fire of life of one and leaving the others, desperately wondering, where the light and warmth has gone.

My parents, both martyrs and catalysts of truth, didn’t deserve to die like this. But funny how life works, it shows you how beautiful it is for a moment and the next second, it decides to show you the worst side of it and because of this sudden change, you begin to adapt to it. That’s what I’ve experienced as the days began to pass. Gone is the kid who thought life is all about positive stuff. That was just a dream, this is reality.

As their graves were being lowered into the ground, everybody began to cry, some with sorrow, anger, and misery, while I just stared, wondering why would this happen to my family. Without my parents, who would stuff candies on our socks during Christmas? To whom can we confide our deepest dreams and fears? Who will cook us those crazy-experimented dishes that we learned to love? Who can we turn to when we face problems which we can barely handle? All of these swam into my mind, trying to lure me to that sense of hopelessness. But I did not glue in. My family is the only thing I have with me and I must be strong like my elder brother and sister.

Together, we can face anything, even the grief that has already gripped us.

Two years after the funeral, my younger siblings and I moved here in Bukidnon to live together with my Aunt’s family. We adjusted well with the people around me but I never forget about the change that was inflicted upon me. That change made me realize that we have only one life to thread so we have to make it into a beautiful pattern that will make us stand out for as long as we live.

There’s a quote that says, “Do not let the death of one be the death of yourself,” and he got it right, but the reality is the death of the one close to your heart will change you into something you are not expecting to be. For me, it really has changed me, I don’t know if it’s for better or for worse. The death of the light and the columns of my life gave me the skill to see in darkest times and gave me strength to carry the burden imposed by life itself.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not that classic emo who blames God and the world for everything that has happened. I’m just one of those persons who have begun to understand how life works and even with all kinds of struggles and hardships, still know how to enjoy and be thankful for it.

You can only live once in your life and that’s what makes life so precious. So smile for it, laugh for it, cry for it, fight for it, and most important of all, learn from it. (Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. Karl Rev A. Vigo, 16, is a fourth year student at Bukidnon National High School in Malaybalay City. He is one of the five children of murdered journalist couple George and Macel Vigo of Kidapawan City, who were killed on June 19, 2006.)